When Muslims Are Demonised At Garba Occasions



At the moment, October 5, there can be quite a few occasions to declare the triumph of excellent over evil in Dussehra celebrations with the burning of the effigy of Ravana. Elsewhere, there can be elaborate preparations for the immersion of the clay photos of Goddess Durga after celebrating her victory over the demon king Mahishasura. These festivities historically contain crores of Indians inside and out of doors the boundaries of India. The beautifully-decorated puja pandals are visited by individuals throughout communities, simply because the audiences on the performances of the Ram Leela are inclusive of individuals throughout communities. That is the way it has been prior to now.

However will it stay so? Will we quickly have signboards exterior the pandals that state “Hindus solely”, very like the indicators in British India that forbade the entry of Indians into many public locations? If a pandal in Kolkata can truly painting the demon king killed by the Goddess within the type of Gandhi-ji, is the thought of “Hindus Solely” signboards so outlandish? The Vishwa Hindu Parishad spokesperson Chandrachud Goswami, liable for the abomination, was not shy or defensive. He stated, “Gandhi doesn’t deserve respect. We wish to ship a transparent message that we would like a Gandhi-mukt Bharata Varsh.”

India must ask itself some arduous questions – in our personal instances, in our personal society, is evil triumphing over the nice? Maybe not. The individuals of India, the working poor, the employees, the kisans, have traditionally, as a rule, chosen the trail of appearing for what is correct, preventing again the forces that wish to enslave us, to divide us, to perpetuate injustice. However at this time, it’s not an bizarre battle. Daily brings new examples of why the query is related. Take a look at the current developments over the “garba” celebrations.


A gaggle of Muslim males have been crushed in Gujarat’s Kheda district over a dispute over a garba occasion.

The beating of Muslim males at and even across the neighborhood of “garba pandals” by personal armies of the Hindutva brigade are akin to lighting bonfires of the Structure. The assaults represent a stage of crude non secular profiling that’s fairly unprecedented. It’s a shameful demonizing of a complete group as potential trouble-makers, as harassers of ladies, as ‘love jihadists’. In all these assaults, the police have admitted that there have been no complaints of harassment by any ladies attending the garba occasions. The cost in opposition to Muslim males as “luring ladies” is insulting to Hindu ladies, too, who have to be thought-about brainless if they are often so simply “lured”.

Such assaults are happening in centres in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. As a substitute of arresting the attackers led by the Bajrang Dal and, in some instances, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the police have arrested the victims. Since there isn’t any proof of any crime in opposition to these arrested, the police have used Part 151, an open-ended clause, which supplies police the fitting to arrest with none proof or proof of crime dedicated however to “stop the fee of cognizable offences”. It reads “(1) A police officer figuring out of a design to commit any cognizable offence might arrest, with out orders from a Justice of the Peace and with out a warrant, the individual so designing, if it seems to such officer that the fee of the offence can’t be in any other case prevented. “The Hindutva brigade have made recognized their intention to make use of the current non secular festivities to focus on Muslims, they’re the individuals ‘so designing’.” However not a single one among them, not even these simply identifiable within the movies proven on nationwide tv, have been booked by the police. It’s recognized that sections of the police pressure have been communalised. However the blatant bias of their actions in these instances is due to the general public assist to the Hindutva gangs by the governments of each Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

The chief of the Bajrang Dal in Indore, Tannu Sharma, said that Muslims wouldn’t be allowed into garba pandals. He was quoted as saying “Pehle rokenge, pair tokenge, phir thokenge” (we’ll cease them, then threaten them, then beat them). Pragya Thakur, Member of Parliament and accused within the Malegaon bombing case, said, “Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into garba pandals”, and additional, “outlets owned by Muslims close to the pandals needs to be shut down”. The Minister of Tradition, Usha Thakur, echoing the Bajrang Dal, said that “Garba pandals have gotten the medium for love jihad”. This was adopted by the assertion of the State’s Residence Minister Narottam Mishra that “id playing cards could be required to enter pandals”. In compliance together with his assertion, orders making ID playing cards obligatory have been issued by district administrations in Ujjain, Bhopal, Indore, Narmadapuram and Khandwa. So, what began with the Bajrang Dal ended with the official approval of the federal government. Let’s not idiot ourselves that these are “fringe components”.

Madhya Pradesh has a excessive crime charge in sexual assaults in opposition to ladies. If there are goons, as there typically are, at such public occasions the place massive numbers of younger ladies could also be current, the police have to make sure their arrest and the safety of the ladies. Identification playing cards don’t present data of prison historical past – they solely give the identify and handle of the individual involved. The order for id playing cards was to not defend ladies, however solely to humiliate members of the minority group. Most of the pandals are on public thoroughfares, so at any given time, there could also be members of the Muslim group passing by. They too have been reportedly subjected to harassment and bodily assaults. In Indore alone, 14 members of the Muslim group have been arrested.

In Gujarat, the Hindutva brigade issued orders to organizers of garba pandals assuming the authority of the federal government. Hitendrasinh Rajput, the spokesperson of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP, declared that “Bajrang Dal upfront has instructed all organizers to make sure that no safety individual is employed belonging to the Muslim group as they’ve malafide intentions of luring Hindu women. Whether it is completed, then such clashes will occur.” This was his justification after his gangs attacked Muslim safety guards at a garba operate in Surat. The Bajrang Dal introduced that its males could be ‘checking’ to make sure that there are not any Muslims on the pandals. If the Hindutva brigade can act with such impunity, it hardly wants a political scientist’s evaluation to level out that it is a clear instance of state assist for wholly unlawful actions.

All these a long time, “garba” celebrations like these related to different non secular festivals have been celebrated by members of all communities. However after the arrival of the BJP authorities in 2014, the pattern has elevated of non secular festivities turning into events to create and deepen fault strains between communities. In Gujarat, the place the garba custom originates, Muslim musicians have lengthy been related to the festivities. In 2015, there have been incidents in Ahmedabad of Muslims being excluded from garba celebrations. On the time, it was not “love jihad” however “beef eaters” who have been to be saved out of the pandals. Achyut Yagnik, a well-recognized creator and analyst of Gujarat society in an interview (Financial Instances, Oct 10, 2015) had stated “The Muslim ‘Mir’ or ‘Langa’ group was historically related to music in Gujarat and their members participated and performed music in Hindu temples and festivals. In current instances, Mir singers, female and male, have grow to be very fashionable and are invited to sing throughout Navaratri in varied cities and cities. ” He criticized the pattern of preserving Muslims out of the celebrations.


There was rising communal friction surrounding festive occasions lately.

Since 2015, the state of affairs has worsened with assaults taking totally different types. With the commercialization of the festivities, large garba occasions inviting Bollywood stars are organised by professionals, lots of them Muslim occasion organizers. They don’t seem to be being allowed to organise such occasions. The occasions require safety preparations. A number of the guards are Muslim employees incomes an sincere residing. This too is stopped. Retailers to be shut down as a result of they’re owned by Muslims, employees to be prevented from going to work as a result of they’re Muslim, occasion organizers prohibited from offering skilled companies as a result of they’re Muslim – it is a direct assault on livelihood.

A couple of months in the past, on the time of Ram Navami, we noticed a concerted plan being put into motion when aggressive processions of slogan-shouting members led by the identical organisations – the Bajrang Dal and the VHP – intentionally provoked clashes exterior mosques at a time when the Muslim group have been observing ramzan. A whole bunch of Muslims have been arrested and plenty of are nonetheless in jail. Bulldozers have been used to raze Muslim-owned properties to the bottom whereas the provocateurs bought away scot-free by means of authorities patronage. At the moment, navratri or puja celebrations are sought for use to fulfil the identical purpose of demonization of a group, division of society and destruction of pluralist cultures.

Symbolic actions of the ritual burning of effigies representing evil could have extra which means when we have now the need and willpower to establish, acknowledge and battle again the forces of darkness in our midst.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha

Disclaimer: These are the non-public opinions of the creator.



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